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Explore the function of the Inspector in J.B. Priestleys An Inspector Calls

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Explore the function of the Inspector in J.B. Priestley's 'An Inspector Calls' In 'An Inspector Calls', the Inspector represents many different functions. This is done in a variety of methods and by using a range of language techniques. The Inspector is an integral character in the play, and in many instances of the script he could be interpreted as the voice for J. B. Priestley - who strongly believed in socialism and represented the belief that responsibility - and actions - are shared and have consequences. The Inspector is described as creating an 'impression of massiveness, solidity and purpose'. This is especially evident when he is addressing the Birling family about their role in the events leading up to the death of Eva Smith - each is targeted in turn and it is not until the Inspector has left the stage that characters relax and explore the situation for themselves. ...read more.


The character shows an opinion that would be extremely radical for the time in which the play was set - that women are people, and that the opinion of 'young women ought to be protected against unpleasant and disturbing things' is wrong. This could mean that the Inspector is the voice of Priestley in the play. The Inspector could also be the moral conscience of the play. He forces each character to accept their guilt in Eva Smith's death, and also encourages the characters to formulate their own opinions about right and wrong as the play progresses. This effect is mainly noticed on Sheila and Eric, but this could be because people like the Inspector 'often have more of an effect on the young ones'. He closes his interaction with 'if men will not learn that lesson [people are responsible], then they will be taught it in blood and fire and anguish." ...read more.


The play is structured so that each act finishes on a cliff-hanger created by the Inspector - such as "Well?" as the closing statement in Act One. This helps to increase the tension and also to an extent shows us that the Inspector is the ultimate power in the play, which reinforced the suggestion that he is either a ghostly conscience or Priestley's voice. The Inspector displays intimate knowledge of the events, and supplements the information that he does not pretend to know with carefully targeted questions. This forces not only the characters, but the audience as well, to second guess both themselves and the Inspector. In conclusion, the Inspector is used for a range of functions by the author in order to achieve the greatest effect and to create the largest impact on the play, but the prevailing theme is that the Inspector is there in order to promote good values, and this is clearly shown in the opinions he states. ?? ?? ?? ?? ...read more.

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